Entry requirements

An upper second-class (2.1) undergraduate honours degree or above in a relevant subject such as media, arts or humanities. Applicants with other qualifications will be considered if they can show media experience and a passion for documentary.We also welcome applicants who are able to demonstrate that they have relevant professional/creative skills and experience.

Months of entry


Course content

This MA offers you the chance to develop your filmmaking and critical skills in a supportive and stimulating environment. It is led by award-winning producers and taught by highly experienced practitioners with expertise in creating moving images.

The course is unique in offering you the chance not only to make documentary films for the single screen but also to create work across other platforms and in other media of your choice such as the web, photography and mobile media. It allows you to pursue your specific interests through a broader study of media theory and research methods, or film studies.

You learn about the current trends in documentary and how the form can encompass a variety of styles from highly personal first person films to journalistic investigation to provocative experiments in re-enactment. You learn skills as a self-shooter and working in small teams and develop your own approach to
exploring topics that matter to you.

The School benefits from strong connections with local and national media companies, and leading industry specialists in key areas of production regularly provide input to this course.

Through a series of projects and exercises, you learn to develop, pitch, research, script, budget, shoot and edit creative documentaries, with 24-hour access to the School’s broadca-ststandard equipment including HD cameras and a range of post-production facilities.

Your documentary is screened at the MA degree show, and the School of Media, Film and Music promotes the best films to competitions and festivals. You:

  • develop a portfolio of films and master all the different aspects of producing a good documentary – conceptual, organisational, technical and industrial
  • take seminars exploring key issues in contemporary and historical examples of the genre alongside your practical workshops
  • develop your own voice by conceiving and realising a personal project, your final 20-minute film
  • learn alongside a diverse international and UK student body
  • attend an exciting programme of dedicated MA masterclasses run by media and arts practitioners, as well as numerous other events, and screenings within the School
  • have the option of part-time study with one day of classes on campus per week.


Assessment is by practical video/media work and production documentation and critique. The final assessment is a major documentary project plus essay, or a dissertation.

Course Structure

We continue to develop and update our modules for 2017 entry to ensure you have the best student experience. In addition to the course structure below, you may find it helpful to refer to the Modules list. Modules may be subject to change.

Each term you work on practical documentary projects alongside conceptual and theoretical study.

Autumn term: you take Documentary Practice, and Writing Documentary: Sound/Image/Text.

Spring term: you take Research and Project Development for Documentary Practice • Short Documentary: Research and Production, and one option from a list that may include Activist Media Practice • Animal Life and the Moving Image • Digital Humanities • First Person Film • Global News Industries • Media Audiences, Media Histories and Cultural Change • Media, Culture and Communication • Media, Technology and Everyday Life • Music and the Media of Performance (Theory) • New Developments in Digital Media • New Moving Screens • Photography: Documentary, Landscape, Politics • Queering Popular Culture • Research and Prototyping for Interactive Practice • Sound Environment (Theory) • The Cinematic Body • The Politics of Promotional Culture.

Summer term: you undertake either a digital documentary dissertation or project.

Information for international students

Please visit: International qualifications for Masters courses or Fees and Scholarships.

Fees and funding

UK students
Please see our website
International students
Please see our website

Please visit our website for latest fees information: http://www.sussex.ac.uk/study/masters/2017/media-film-and-music/digital-documentary-ma

The University of Sussex aims to attract the most talented students to postgraduate study. For full details of our scholarships please visit: Masters Scholarships

Qualification and course duration


part time
24 months
full time
12 months


AssessmentWhat kind of work will I be doing? (proportionally)
Written coursework / continuous assessment60
Dissertation40 (18000 words)

Course contact details

Student Recruitment Services
+44 (0)1273 877538